Black Workers Face Brutal Racial Discrimination at Tesla

Tesla Factory in Fremont, CA. Image credit: Maurizio Pesce

Tesla was recently sued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) for racial discrimination and harassment. After receiving hundreds of complaints from workers, DFEH released a report stating that their investigation found that Tesla’s Fremont, California factory is “racially segregated” and that Black workers are commonly “subjected to racial slurs and discriminated against” in a range of areas such as job assignments and discipline.

This comes after Tesla was recently forced to pay a former Black worker $137 million in damages after he sued the company for not putting a stop to consistent racial abuse he received while working at the factory in 2015 and 2016. In that lawsuit, former Tesla employee Omar Diaz was constantly harassed at work and faced daily racial epithets such as the N-word.

Tesla has worked to create a brand as an innovative company that is on the forefront of fighting climate change by playing a leading role in the mass adoption of electric cars. In reality, it is just another corporation in our capitalist society which is based on the brutal exploitation of its workers and “divide and conquer” tactics from management.

This is not the first time negative reports have come out about working at Tesla. It is notorious for its poor safety culture and union-busting practices. Just like any company which seeks to maximize profits, Tesla executives and managers view worker safety and unions as obstacles to making more profit. When profit is the priority, racist managers – or managers that turn a blind eye to racism within the company – can be used by the company to foster an even weaker and divided workforce, because they know that when workers are divided on racial lines, it will be harder for them to organize for better and safer conditions.

This racial discrimination is not unique to Tesla. It is a common feature of workplaces around the world. We must find a way to unite as workers and combat the racist poison that capitalist society promotes.